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Apocalyptic Index

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The world is always ending, for someone.
Neil Gaiman, Signal To Noise

From the Greek word "apokalyptein", meaning uncovering or revealing, an apocalypse is a catastrophic event that changes the world as we know it, so that it "reveals" a new world (so to speak). This index lists tropes relating to the apocalyptic.


  • After the End: The main setting of the story is post-apocalyptic.
  • And Man Grew Proud: Whatever caused the "apocalyptic" state of the world becomes a simple myth over time.
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  • Animal Is the New Man: Humanity falls, and animals rise up to take their place.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Once everyone knows that the world is about to end, society falls into chaos.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: The impending end of a society/people/world/etc leads one or more people to become kinder.
  • Apocalypse Cult: A cult who strives to cause the apocalypse.
  • Apocalypse Day Planner
  • Apocalypse How: This trope is for categorizing the scope and severity of the "apocalypse" in question.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: An innocent character is destined to bring about The End of the World as We Know It just by existing.
  • Apocalypse Not: After the supposed "end" of everything, society has somehow managed to sustain itself, either barely or impressively.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The apocalypse is absolutely nightmarish, but man if it isn't cool!
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  • Apocalyptic Gag Order: One or more world governments are aware that the apocalypse is coming, and they're trying to stop it—but no one else is allowed to know.
  • Apocalyptic Log: During or leading up to "the End", a character records their thoughts.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: The total loss of imported goods and resources (oil, clean water, etc.) is only a minor inconvenience for everyone.
  • Apocalyptic Montage: Montage of several landmarks leading up to, during, or after the world-ending catastrophe.
  • The Apunkalypse: Once society falls, everyone becomes a vandalizing punk.
  • Archaeological Arms Race: Everyone is racing to get the technology from a lost civilization.
  • Beast of the Apocalypse: A monster that kick-starts The End of the World as We Know It.
  • The Beforetimes: Survivors of the apocalypse refer to the way the world used to be as something along the lines of "The Beforetimes."
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  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Older machinery in storage may be more easily run or maintained in a post-apocalyptic society.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The planet is destroyed, and the astronauts must ask, "Now what?"
  • Citywide Evacuation: Some people are able to escape an entire city before the impending catastrophe destroys or heavily damages it.
  • Civilization Destroyer: It doesn't necessarily destroy a world, but it does end a civilization.
  • Celebrity Survivor: The world is falling around as they speak, but characters still ask someone, "Hey, aren't you from TV?"
  • Climate Change: The global climate changes in a disruptive and dangerous manner, usually because of human action.
  • Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth: Cockroaches—or an evolved form of them—take over the world after humanity falls.
  • Conducting the Carnage: The best thing to do when everything is falling apart is to wave your hands conductor-style and treat it like music.
  • Cosmic Flaw: There's something fundamentally wrong/out of place in the fabric of reality that will spell certain doom for the world.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: The world ends, and that's fine. No biggie.
  • Dancin' in the Ruins: An entire civilization has been destroyed...Hooray!
  • Depopulation Bomb: It didn't necessarily destroy the planet, but it did wipe out most of its people, probably leaving only a few survivors.
  • Desolation Shot: A slow, somber shot of a place once populated and kept, now barren and dilapidated.
  • Destroyer Deity: A God, Goddess, or other entity associated, or solely responsible for, mass destruction.
  • Disaster Democracy: A band of post-disaster survivors band together and elect some leaders.
  • Disaster Scavengers: Post-disaster, the only way for characters to good food, water, and other supplies is to scavenge the surrounding areas.
  • Doomsday Clock: When the literal clock strikes twelve, it's all over.
  • Doomsday Device: A device/object capable of destroying the world.
  • Dream Apocalypse: Everything and everyone is just someone's dream. So, if that someone were to wake up...
  • Earth All Along: The desolated planet the story takes place on turns out to be Earth itself, not a fictional planet.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: An explosion so big the entire planet is destroyed.
  • Earth That Was: Earth has been destroyed or is otherwise uninhabitable, contributing to the plot/setting.
  • The Elites Jump Ship: The leaders, the rich, and the powerful left everyone else to rot during some calamity.
  • Emergency Broadcast: An official government warning of an impending threat, broadcast to the population.
  • Emergency Presidential Address: An emergency has become so dire that the leader of the nation makes a televised address to the citizens.
  • The End Is Nigh (AKA Doomsayer): The random guy, preacher, or street hobo declaring over and over that "The End is neeeeaaaar!" Problem is, they're right.
  • Endless Daytime: The sun does not set, ever.
  • Endless Winter: The world is trapped in a neverending Ice Age.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: If the heroes don't manage to save the day, this is what will happen.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The Apocalypse repeats at intervals.
  • Fallout Shelter Fail: The shelter designed to save people from the apocalypse isn't up to the task.
  • The Famine: Widespread, maybe even planetary, lack of food.
  • Flooded Future World: Due to disastrous flooding or sea level rise, the world becomes mostly or entirely covered by water.
  • Future Primitive: Time passes by, but mankind has somehow managed to become dumber, or less capable of maintaining itself.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: A tsunami capable of quite a bit of destruction.
  • Glacial Apocalypse: An ice age brings about the end of civilization.
  • Hell on Earth: Hell itself manages to invade the world.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: Some people — maybe even everyone — manage to get off the planet before it's destroyed.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Anthropomorphic Personifications of the The End of the World as We Know It from The Bible.
  • Hostile Terraforming: Alien life invades and starts shaping the planet to suit their needs at the cost of the natives'.
  • Humanity's Wake: Humans are extinct.
  • The Immune: Humanity as a whole is threatened by a disease that has already killed quite a few—but one or more characters have an immunity to it.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Technically, the aftermath of an event should have gotten a good lot of people killed, or ruined an area forever...But it's glossed over in the story.
  • Just Before the End: The work takes place just a short bit of time before The End.
  • Last Fertile Region: There's only one place left that still maintains wildlife.
  • The Last Man Heard a Knock...: Someone believes that they are the last living being or human on the planet, but not only are there others, but they also manage to run into each other.
  • Lost Common Knowledge: Society has suffered through some kind of disaster, and many years later, basic knowledge of how the world works is lost.
  • Low-Angle Empty World Shot: A scene requires that only the actors are in the shot, even in a real-world busy city. Thus, the actors are shot at low angles to crop out passerby.
  • Mayan Doomsday: December 21, 2012—the date the Mayans supposedly predicted as the end of the world—is used as such in a story.
  • Millennium Bug: The arrival of January 1, 2000, was believed to cause computers all over the world to malfunction, leading to disaster—it's used or mentioned in a work.
  • Mistaken for Apocalypse: Someone believes that the apocalypse is coming or has already happened, They just misinterpreted some coincidences.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: When the world is coming to an end, at least one character's goal is to get laid once and for all.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: Nuclear warfare between two or more nuke-owning nations has the potential to cause the total destruction of all participants to the conflict — and this may also result in taking down the rest of the world with them.
  • Mystical Plague: A plague is created by mystical powers, not a scientific mishap.
  • Natural End of Time: A Class X-4 apocalypse, caused naturally and by time rather than by a sudden cataclysm.
  • New Eden: The land is utterly decimated after a disaster, but after a few good years, it's revived and inhabitants can return to it.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The villain's main goal is to get rid of sunlight forever.
  • No Bikes in the Apocalypse: The world has fallen, and the only way to get around is on foot, by horse, or by scavenged cars. Bicycle? Don't know her.
  • No FEMA Response: Humanitarian aid fails to appear on the scene of a disaster.
  • Nuclear Nasty: Radiation results in the creation of monsters, and sometimes villains.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: A villain who doesn't just want to destroy the hero—they want to destroy everything.
  • The Plague: A disease, either lethal or extremely dangerous, poses a threat to society or even the world at large.
  • Planet Eater: A character, monster, or entity who eats planets.
  • Pointless Doomsday Device: Its sole function is to cause mass destruction, so...why was it made, to begin with?
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: In the event of an apocalypse, dogs will appear as either ravenous animals or Man's loyal best friend.
  • Post Apocalyptic Gasmask: Survivors of an apocalypse don gas masks to protect themselves from the poison or radiation that caused said apocalypse.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Traffic Jam: A road jammed full of abandoned vehicles (and perhaps the remains of their unfortunate drivers) left in the aftermath of the apocalypse.
  • Post-Apunkalyptic Armor: Survivors don improvised and very punk-style armor.
  • Post-Peak Oil: A work takes place after all of the world's oil has been depleted.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: A villain is in such a state of misery that, for some reason, he concludes that killing everyone else will help.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Even after many, many years of desolation, ruins of a former civilization are still holding up pretty well.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: Someone does something impossible, and reality basically blue-screens.
  • Reclaimed by Nature: In the absence of people, nature reclaims lost ground.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Food has become so scarce that characters turn to eating meager animals—rats, bugs, mice, etc.
  • Regional Redecoration: The Earth itself is reshaped as a result of something huge.
  • Restart the World: The world is just too far gone, so the only way to save it is to destroy it and start over.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The ruins of a fallen civilization come from our present-day world.
  • Scavenged Punk: Technology or other appliances are built from scavenged junk.
  • Scavenger World: After the end, a society emerges, and everyone in it is a scavenger.
  • Screw the Rules, It's the Apocalypse!: People take advantage of the fear and chaos the apocalypse brings to do whatever they want.
  • Set the World on Fire: Small area or big, the world is scoured by flames.
  • Signs of the End Times: The apocalypse has several boding signs before it comes.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: Someway, somehow, someone manages to just miss the apocalypse.
  • Solar Flare Disaster: A planet takes a hard hit from a solar flare. Disaster ensues.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: A map showing the source of the disaster slowly spreading across the land.
  • Star Killing: Someone or something destroys a star, even one that has surrounding planets.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: Stars disappearing from the night sky is a sign of bad, bad things.
  • Sterility Plague: A disease has rendered those infected unable to bear children.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Showing, in full detail, just what will happen and how if the day isn't saved.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: A place of sunshine and rainbows falls apart.
  • Synthetic Plague: A plague was created by humans, intentionally or not.
  • Teenage Wasteland: A world where children somehow gain power over adults.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: The cause or nature of the apocalypse is left unknown.
  • Urban Ruins: Cities or other urban areas fallen to ruins.
  • Villain World: The Bad Guy Wins, and he takes over the world.
  • Wasteland Elder: The older leader of a small survivor group, probably with the knowledge of how the world was before it ended.
  • Watch the World Die: Instead of trying to survive, a character chooses to just sit back and watch the world end, probably too despaired to do anything else.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: It doesn't matter how many times the world is saved, because tomorrow, it'll just be threatened again.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The world ends via being overrun by the undead.


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